> We show that it is virtually impossible for an individual to day trade for a living, contrary to what course providers claim. We observe all individuals who began to day trade between 2013 and 2015 in the Brazilian equity futures market, the third in terms of volume in the world, and persisted for at least 300 days: 97% of them lost money, only 0.4% earned more than a bank teller (US$54 per day), and the top individual earned only US$310 per day with great risk (a standard deviation of US$2,560). Additionally, we find no evidence of learning by day trading.
The Longer I live, the more I see people profiting off knowledge.
A personal example I see of this is in Tech. If you understand tech, you can find areas people don't understand. Those are what's worth investing or shorting.
Although if you are limited to day trades I'm not sure this is relevant.
It's difficult to, for example, learn how to become a brain surgeon on the job.
I believe there’s some good evidence for weak form efficient markets hypothesis in the most liquid markets, which implies you can’t make money by trading only on ‘technical signals’ in the price. This is what you might expect day traders to try to do, so in that sense it’s not a particularly surprising result this paper demonstrates.
But the consensus is, I think, that the strong form of the efficient market hypothesis might not be true in real life - being good at fundamental analysis can lead you to outperform the market.
Illiquid markets are a bit different again - you can potentially get ‘paid’ a lot more just for providing liquidity to the market there, which is different again.
Doesn't this amount to telling you your education is useless?
If the stocks themselves are random walks, then the underlying company performance must be random walks. If your education does indeed improve the outcomes of the business you manage and run then that would mean stock performance can be influenced by things other than luck.
Unless of course you are operating under the premise that company performance and stock performance are unrelated.
> "We follow all individuals who day traded mini-Ibovespa futures contracts for their first time from 2013 to 2015, a total of 19,646 individuals."
I know nothing about the Brazilian equities market, but it seems like it might be harder to for individuals to reliably make a profit on something heavily traded and fungible (Ibovespa is an index), where you're competing with much bigger players. Smaller stuff might work better--for one person--because it doesn't scale.
Liquidity is a very important aspect of any market. If you are the largest player in a small market (i.e. it has low liquidity), you are market making, and the problem with that is information asymmetry comes into play: you're trading against people who know stuff you don't know, and they will only trade against you when you're wrong.
If you are in a highly liquid market, the market represents all the information out there, so you need to think about where your informational edge comes from.
Most day traders seem to focus on technical analysis in the belief that there are underlying probabilities that drive market movement and this alone is enough to find an edge.
The linked paper is not one I have read completely yet, but it seems to align with my own experience and those observed elsewhere: that might be true, but you need to find the edge nobody else has seen yet, and that seems to be very difficult and carry some risk.
Making a living on craps or roulette? Not mathematically impossible, but highly improbable. How do they get their edge?
(Oh, and most tables have maximums, so you can't keep doubling your bet to infinity.)